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The Other Einstein

The Other Einstein

3.9 10
by Marie Benedict

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One of PopSugar's "25 Books You're Going to Curl Up with this Fall."

"The Other Einstein takes you into Mileva's heart, mind, and study as she tries to forge a place for herself in a scientific world dominated by men."-Bustle

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The


One of PopSugar's "25 Books You're Going to Curl Up with this Fall."

"The Other Einstein takes you into Mileva's heart, mind, and study as she tries to forge a place for herself in a scientific world dominated by men."-Bustle

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Albert Einstein may not have been the only mastermind behind his groundbreaking ideas about relativity; it turns out the renowned theoretical physicist collaborated a great deal with his first wife, Mileva Marić—a Serbian woman of modest means who was one of the few women to study math and science at the Zurich Polytechnic School where the two meet. In her compelling novel, Benedict shows how Mileva transforms from a sheltered girl into a personally and professionally fulfilled young woman as she meets other educated women like her in the Swiss boarding house near her school and, through her new acquaintance Albert Einstein, engages in theoretical discussions with male colleagues during which her intelligence is both admired and supported. But Albert and Mileva are a product of their times; the turn of the century wasn’t exactly a liberating time for women, and the self-centered Albert has no compunctions about deleting her name from papers they assiduously work on together. Their tenuous personal life (including a child he ignores), his affairs, and his insistence that his wife be more possession than spouse causes the marriage to implode. Did giving Mileva his Nobel Prize earnings assuage his guilt for her unacknowledged assistance and confirm her contribution to his work? Benedict makes a strong case that the brilliant woman behind him was integral to his success, and creates a rich historical portrait in the process. Agent: Laura Dail, Laura Dail Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Beautifully written...a finely drawn portrait of a woman in love with the wrong man." - Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Hours Count

"A crusading scientist undone by love....revealing, enlightening." - Nuala O'Connor, author of Miss Emily

"In her compelling novel... Benedict makes a strong case that the brilliant woman behind [Albert Einstein] was integral to his success, and creates a rich historical portrait in the process." - Publishers Weekly

"Benedict's debut novel carefully traces Mileva's life-from studious schoolgirl to bereaved mother-with attention paid to the conflicts between personal goals and social conventions. An intriguing... reimagining of one of the strongest intellectual partnerships of the 19th century." - Kirkus

"Many will enjoy Benedict's feminist views and be fascinated by the life of an almost unknown woman." - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

"...INTIMATE and IMMERSIVE historical novel....Prepare to be moved by this provocative history of a woman whose experiences will resonate with today's readers." " - Library Journal, Editors' Fall Picks

"The Other Einstein takes you into Mileva's heart, mind, and study as she tries to forge a place for herself in a scientific world dominated by men. " - Bustle

"...an ENGAGING and THOUGHT PROVOKING fictional telling of the poignant story of an overshadowed woman scientist." - Booklist

"Superb...the haunting story of Einstein's brilliant first wife who was lost in his shadow.
" - Sue Monk Kidd, NYT bestselling author of The Invention of Wings, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Mermaid Chair

Library Journal
To what extent did Albert Einstein's first wife, Mileva Marić, contribute to his groundbreaking theories? That question lies at the heart of this first novel, narrated by Mileva. When she arrives from Zagreb to study physics in Zurich in 1896, she faces local prejudice against Serbs and pity for her limp resulting from a congenital defect. She also must prove herself academically in a class of five men, including Albert; his interest in her quickly shifts from intellectual to romantic, with promises of marriage he doesn't fulfill until after their daughter, Lieserl, is born. Having lost her academic chances, Mileva hopes to continue collaborating with Albert on his theories, but he never acknowledges Mileva's work and increasingly treats her like a servant. Benedict draws on many sources, especially letters from Albert, Mileva, and her friend Helene Kaufler, but Albert in this portrait emerges as self-centered, unlikable, and ambitious. And as Mileva submits to Albert's repeated bullying, it is hard to imagine her drive and determination in pre-Zurich days. Although both Lieserl's fate (early death or possible adoption) and Mileva's scientific contributions are subjects of debate, they continue to stimulate discussion. VERDICT With a reading group guide included and major publicity campaign planned, expect steady demand in public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 5/2/16.]—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato
Kirkus Review
What if Mileva Marić, Albert Einstein’s first wife, contributed more to the theory of relativity than anyone knew?Afflicted with a congenital hip defect, Mileva grows up convinced she will always be disdained and will never marry. Her only hope for happiness lies in physics; indeed, she sees God in the details of the mathematical universe. Fortunately, her father supports her unconventional destiny. Soon after moving to Zurich to study at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic, Mileva has not only gained a circle of like-minded girlfriends, but also attracted the attention of a disheveled classmate: Albert. Despite Mileva’s reticence, Albert quickly ensconces himself in her life, joining in spirited musical evenings previously reserved for her girlfriends, pulling her into intellectual debates at cafes, and ultimately seducing her into his bed. Enthralled by her first love, Mileva wonders whether marrying Albert is wise: what will become of her own dreams? Benedict’s debut novel carefully traces Mileva’s life—from studious schoolgirl to bereaved mother—with attention paid to the conflicts between personal goals and social conventions. Aligning the scientific accomplishments with the domestic tribulations of 19th-century life holds promise. Yet from the moment Mileva falls for Albert, she submits easily to the expectations both society and, surprisingly, Albert hold for women. Narratively, too, Benedict douses the fire and passion expected from such an iconoclast as Mileva Marić. She certainly builds tension each time Mileva bends a rule to advance her relationship with Albert. Yet even these first forays into collaboration reduce Mileva from Albert’s intellectual equal, and often superior, to the shadows: Albert easily convinces Mileva to ignore her doubts about his fidelity, establishing the pattern of sacrificing Mileva’s astonishing intelligence to social harmony. An intriguing, if thin, reimagining of one of the strongest intellectual partnerships of the 19th century.

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6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies.

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The Other Einstein: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
StudentofParables More than 1 year ago
Mileva Maric – a name I’ll not soon forget! She is definitely someone to research further, someone for scientists and thinkers today to learn from. Mileva was Albert Einstein’s first wife, and through Ms. Benedict’s eyes, we get a glimpse of what their life might have been. This is a very precarious task, as with all historical fiction, for author and reader must be careful not to override or twist the reality they are building from. Ms. Benedict does a fantastic job of creating the time period in which the two would have met – the depth of research and care for her subject is evident! As a highly intelligent woman who fought for every inch of learning she could achieve, it is a shame students don’t learn about Mileva and her work like they do Albert’s, or even other noted women scientists throughout history. She is definitely a role model for pushing yourself to your highest potential, and never letting the nay-sayers get in the way of your goal. A very interesting read that makes the reader want to dig deeper! I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
The Other Einstein By Marie Benedict Mileva Marić was determined to master both physics and mathematics. In 1896 the Swiss Federal Polytechnic university in Zürich, Switzerland was one of the few places that allowed women to enter its doors of higher education and earn a degree. In a world that frowned upon women pursuing education Mileva had another strike against her - her Serbian heritage. She was resigned to the life of an academic but then she met Albert Einstein and her life and history were forever altered. As a fellow student at Polytechnic Albert Einstein forced, through persistence, his way into Mileva's life. But academia and romance were not an option for a woman intent on pursuing the higher sciences and science was the passion that Mileva's heart desired. But when Albert pulled her into the world of intellectual discussion with her fellow students a new world of thought and collaboration opened before her. And for the first time in her life Mileva considered the possibility of a life that held the promise of both science and marriage. When Albert promises her a life as his equal Mileva allows herself to be swayed be his unique and disheveled charms. But loving a genius is no easy task as Mileva soon discovers. And the sacrifices she makes for her role in the collaboration of Ein Stein as her husband references them will have a marked effect on her life. The Other Einstein is a look at a marriage that is at times beautiful and at other times troubling. It would be interesting to see how different Mileva's life would have been had she been born in a different time or if she had crossed paths with Albert Einstein only as a fellow student. His was an overpowering and oppressive personality that Mileva too late recognized. He was too busy blaming others for his problems when it likely could be laid at his own lack of personal drive and ego. The Other Einstein focuses on Mileva and her thoughts and feelings but it is obvious that the man who promised to treat her as an equal resented her role in his success and was determined to keep her and contributions hidden away in the shadows. But Mileva was a woman who overcame obstacles throughout her life and Albert's unexpected change was the latest to overcome. This is a book that adds a hidden facet to the life of Albert Einstein and world that he called his own. Historical fiction can be a tricky subject to tackle and Marie Benedict manages to not only conquer it but make it fascinating as one leaves one century behind for another. I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. What an incredible story. Romance and betrayal, real life and brilliance in one piece of extraordinary history. Albert Einstein comes to life here but it's his wife, Mileva who is the rock star. Loved this. Highly recommended.
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
This book is well-written and will suck you in emotionally and intellectually which makes it easy to believe every single word. But you shouldn't. This is a work of fiction...an author's collection of assumptions and what if's in regards to Einstein and his first wife, Mileva. A re-imagining. Serious implications in this novel include emotional and physical domestic abuse, marital infidelity, child neglect/absentee parenting, fraud, idea hijacking, credit stealing, the list goes on. While reading, I didn't know this was fiction and the author doesn't tell her readers that it's not a factual biography until an author's note at the very end. Like I said in the beginning, it's a well-written book, but readers should be aware from the start.
InvestedIvana More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own. The Other Einstein is an incredibly well-written book that any woman, even of today, can relate to in some way. Many readers will be sad and angry after reading, and no one who has read this book will ever be able to imagine Albert Einstein the same way ever again. I have always been a lover of historical fiction, typically that told from a female point of view. I think this may because a feminine POV typically includes more than timelines and heroic deeds. Often it also includes social and personal context on historical events. Or maybe that's the "fiction" aspect of historical fiction. In any case, seeing history from a very personal point of view is appealing to me. The Other Einstein certainly delivers this personal aspect to history. So much so that, several days after reading the book (in nearly one sitting), I still feel sad and angry, as if I'm mourning. I guess I am; I'm mourning the school-textbook and pop-culture image of Albert Einstein as a brilliant man and something of the "crazy uncle" of modern science. The Other Einstein tells the story of Mileva Maric, a brilliant woman whose father steers her toward the scholarly life, rather than the domestic one, due to her intelligence and a physical handicap—a twisted hip resulting in a limp. Mileva is one of only a handful of women allowed to matriculate in the universities at the end of the 19th century. She endures prejudice and bullying for her daring, but she perseveres, knowing that science is her passion and believing it is the only option she really has. Until she meets Albert Einstein, who offers her a life of both science and love, of the kind of belonging and acceptance that solitary Mileva has never had. What comes next is a story in much the same vein as the 2014 film, Big Eyes—a charismatic and narcissistic Albert taking credit for Mileva's work and slowly stealing her sense of worth until she is a hollow shell of herself, then finally angry enough to make a change. I love the exchange Mileva has with Marie Curie in the book. In it, Madame Curie, in a very subtle and 19th century way, tries to encourage Mileva to stand up for herself, to take credit for her work, and to be the breakthrough female scientist she was born to be. Madame Curie is a fantastic opposite to Mileva and shows the reader what Mileva's path could have been without Albert. I also adore how the author, or perhaps Mileva herself, has framed her life in terms of Newton's 3 Laws of Motion. What a perfect metaphor for Mileva's life before, with, and after Albert. There is so much I could say about this book, so much to talk about. I'm much too independent of a reader for book clubs, but The Other Einstein makes even me want to join up and talk about all the wonderful themes and ideas it contains—feminism now and in history, independence vs. belonging, the strong need for acceptance, sacrifice, family, domestic relations, intellectual capital, psychological manipulations, living with narcissists, mental health, race and gender relations, the wonder of science, and so much more. But, I think this review is too long already. :) This book seems to me to be one of high cultural value in today's world. We need to hear more stories of women's achievements, particularly in math and science. We need to know how history treated women, both good and bad. We need to hear more of the truth behind
BeesKneesBookishKorner More than 1 year ago
*Orginally posted on The Bees Knees Bookish Korner **This ARC was given to me from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The blurb for this book had me and I knew that I needed to request it from Net Galley. I’ve read all the “wife” books listed and I’ve also read Z, all of which I enjoyed and learned so much. Benedict drew from resources such as letters written from the Einsteins to each other, as well as other papers, documents, and books written about the Einsteins. She brilliantly takes this research and weaves a novel of excitement, joy, heartbreak, and science. You get to know this much lesser known Einstein and you learn to love her, sympathize with her, and root for her in the end. Mitza comes from an Eastern European upbringing in a time when most Europeans were unaccepting of these peoples and furthermore, women were homemakers and nothing else. With the nontraditional encouragement of her father, Mitza studies physics in an environment filled of men and in classrooms where she constantly has to prove herself and her intellect. She meets Albert in class and a romance ensues. Does she give up her dreams of becoming a scientist to marry Albert or is it possible to find a balance and a place in his scientific world? I very thoroughly enjoyed this novel and getting to know Mitza. I accept the liberties that Benedict took and the suppositions that she made because this is, after all, a fiction novel. In the end, it only made me wish that more documents, letters, etc., are in existence so that I could do some further research myself and find definitive answers. Benedict’s writing does this for the reader; it makes you want to know more.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Well, I guess I don't know history as well as I thought I did. The Other Einstein could mean a couple things here. The more obvious "other" Einstein being Mileva Einstein, Albert's first and brilliant wife. It could also refer to the "other" Einstein being Albert himself, and a side of his life and personality that isn't often shown in your traditional histories. Both aspects of this Other Einstein are fascinating and not what I expected at all. Mileva is an incredibly brilliant woman - possibly more so than Einstein himself - and she is unable to resist the charm of a young Albert at school. They seem to be the perfect couple, their wit and personalities complimenting each other while the intellects feed off each other's thoughts and ideas. It seems as if the stage is set for quite an amazing happily every after. But soon things begin to change, and this was the part that I found quite fascinating. Watching the change in their relationship as it morphed into a completely different thing than when it first began, it is hardly recognizable. At times the changes were quite subtle and hard to notice, while others were shocking in their suddenness. This was a great historical story that takes you deep into Western and Eastern European culture. At times the events were just a tad drawn out without a lot of momentum to them, but perhaps this was just to show the times where their lives seemed to come to a stand still. Definitely a book I would recommend. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received a fee electronic copy of this book from Netgalley, Marie Benedict, and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your work with me. This is an exceptional historical novel, based on the life of Mileva “Mitza” Marić, an brilliant physicist and in 1896 the only female studying at the famed Zurich University and one of the first females to study science at university level in all of Europe. and a fellow student and the first wife and mother of his sons, of Albert Einstein. For over a century there has been controversy over how much of the theory of relativity was Mitza's mindchild, and what was Albert's honest conclusion. This is fiction, but based on a great deal of research into the life of Mitza and Albert, including years of their letters to one another. And though It slightly dimmed the glow I have for Albert, it certainly shines a special light on Mileva “Mitza” Marić. It is a novel - and a viewpoint - I am pleased to have been exposed to and would recommend to history lovers, science enthusiasts, and folks interested in women's history.
beckymmoe 5 months ago
Marie Benedict's The Other Einstein was a fascinating read, and one that is significantly adding to my TBR pile--with nonfiction, for a change! (Lots of great suggestions in the author's note at the end--thanks, Ms. Benedict!) The author freely admits that her book is a fictionalization of Mileva Maric Einstein's life and that she makes use of much speculation (especially with regards to exactly how much of a contribution the first Mrs. Einstein made to her husband's famous Theory of Relativity--I'd love to think that her version is the truth, but it's probably a bit of a stretch and I doubt it could ever be proved), and as such I kind of hoped that Albert wasn't as much of a, well, b@stard as he seems to be in the book. Though I can still hope that at least one pretty jarring scene is completely fictional, Princeton University has been kind enough to publish volumes of Einstein's writings and correspondence and their English translations online, and I've now read the memorandum myself that made me gasp out loud when I read that part of the book (18 July 1014, Memorandum to Mileva Einstein-Maric, with comments in Volume 8--but don't read it until after you've read the book!) and then the next few letters after that one, and...just whoa. I'm not sure I'll ever hear the name "Albert Einstein" again and be able to think purely happy thoughts about him. How can a man be so scientifically brilliant and so spectacularly not brilliant in his personal life? (Interesting side note from the letters, not the book, since Mileva wouldn't have known this: Albert wouldn't let his second wife/cousin(!) Elsa be there when he spent time with his sons from his first marriage, because "it is not right to have the children see their father with a woman other than their own mother" yet he had no such scruples about divorcee Elsa's children from her first marriage spending time with their mother and a man who wasn't their own father...double-standard much? Oh, and just to really make it next to impossible to look up to him as a father figure and husband--he apparently briefly considered proposing to Elsa's 20-year-old daughter Ilsa instead... Yeah. He's a prince among men. But a brilliant scientist.) Anyway. Though the story was a bit slow in parts, overall I quite enjoyed it. I look forward to both reading more about Mileva (and her children!) and more from Ms. Benedict in the future. Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many contemporary sources exist to debunk the truth of this story. There is only Einstein first wife, not his extraordinary early partner. History does not deserve this rubbish.